About Busted K

I had a unique college experience. I went to college on a track scholarship and traded in my boots, horses and cattle for running shoes, indoor tracks and weight rooms. During my sophomore year, I found myself removed from the western roots I had growing up. As I found my way back to the western lifestyle, I discovered beading in my traditional Lakota art class. 

For me, beadwork bridged the gap between art and the western lifestyle. I found my passion. 

Busted K 


As long as I can remember I have always made things. I come from a family whose artists are handy with brushes and sculpting tools. My great grandfather was a painter and sculptor and my aunt is in art teacher in my hometown.


I've always been drawn to interesting colors, shapes and textures. Growing up on a small ranch in South Dakota molded me more than I realized; I often catch myself designing with color combinations found in nature. From the creams, tan, red clay and chocolate brown in the sandy shores of the Keya Paha River, to the green grasses, turquoise streams and coral, orange and yellow sunsets found on my family's ranch, I design with a natural, clean color pallette.


Growing up on a ranch I learned the importance of using quality, well made tools. When I started creating tack my focus was on building durable, quality tack with the comfort and safety of a horse in mind. I handstitch my beadwork to the rope halters because the finished product is more durable. My bronc halter nosebands fold to the outside so nothing is rubbing against the horse's nose or cheeks. The pieces I create are quality pieces that wear well with day to day use.


I don't use conchos or chicago screws on my tack because I don't believe they are as reliable as leather ties.


I attended Black Hills State University in Spearfish, SD and majored in Corporate Communication and Graphic Design. During some of my American Indian Studies courses I learned how to do beadwork. Under the direction of Jace DeCory, my instructor and professor at BHSU, I began creating usable art. As a non-Native beader, I believe in the traditional way I was taught. You'll find my "signature" in each piece I create; a purposefully misplaced bead to honor the Lakota tradition that nothing is perfect. I believe in the history behind the Lakota motifs and enjoy continuing to learn about the Lakota way.


Every single piece I create is loomed by hand and the colors bring my personal designs to life.


Newley Kartak, bead artist